Last week, Joe Lhota resigned as chair of the MTA to prepare for a run for Mayor of NYC as a Republican.
Joe Lhota was a Deputy Mayor during the Giuliani Administration and played a leading role in the Administration's response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City. He is a trustee at the City University of New York and a former Chief Administrative officer of MSG, the owner of the Knicks, Rangers, the MSG cable channel, and Madison Square Garden itself.
Lhota was chair of the MTA, the state authority that operates NYC's buses and subways and provides regional rail service in and around NYC while controlling the bridges and tunnels in NYC. He began in that role in the beginning of 2012 and remained there until last week when he resigned to start his campaign for Mayor of NYC.
MTA Fair Hikes
During the approximately one year that Joe Lhota was the leader of the MTA, he angered NYC residents by raising subway fares and bridge tolls.
Republican Mayoral Primary 2013
His Republican opponents in the 2013 Mayoral primary have established significant support.
"The Queens and Manhattan county organizations are in the corner of billionaire John Catsimatidis, while the Bronx and Brooklyn chairs have said they support former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión."
Whichever of these three Republican candidates for Mayor wins the primary will face a daunting Democratic advantage in the general election. In fact, one poll suggested Lhota would lose a general election by a 60% to 9% margin. Therefore, many will view the Republican race as barely relevant. That view is dangerous. Republicans have now won five straight general elections for Mayor in NYC, and both Mayor Bloomberg and former Mayor Giuliani are likely to be pushing hard for the Republican nominee in November 2013.
Democrats must both find the right Mayoral nominee and come together in unity behind that nominee in order to return the Democrats to power in NYC for the first time since David Dinkins left office after the 1993 general election. It has been 20 years.